Game #9-120: Radford Highlanders vs. Kennesaw State OwlsNovember 17, 2012 8:00 pm
My favorite part of NFL Sundays happens when the scheduled game ends. Greg Gumbel appears on screen and informs the viewing audience too poor to afford Sunday Ticket (like me) that CBS is about to take you to a magical place known as "bonus coverage". Without delay, we are all whisked away to five free minutes of a game deep into the 4th quarter, where two teams are primed for some heroic conclusion.
Eastern Kentucky fans left McBrayer Arena en masse following their team's victory over Towson. I left too, but only to get another Mountain Dew from the concourse concession stand. When I returned to the arena I moved closer to the court, excited to settle into my chair for some glorious bonus coverage. It's always interesting to see how many people show up for the neutral site game before or after the host team plays. Tonight, per usual, it wasn't many.
Seeing as how I'd be one of the very few people in attendance, I had tried to get a different perspective on the game by offering to sweep the court (a la Kyle Doin Work
), but my social media pleas yielded no results. Instead, I'd have to check this one out from the seats. Luckily, I had discovered something wonderful on the opposite side of the arena: legroom!
Tonight's bonus coverage featured the "losers bracket" of the four-team tournament in Radford and Kennesaw State. One of my primary reasons for attending this tournament was to see all-ASun standout Markeith Cummings, and I was impressed with his 22 and 6 for the Owls the previous night. Since any attempt at a real gameplan had failed for Kennesaw against Eastern Kentucky, they showed a new strategy against Radford: feed Markeith.
And so one of the least compelling nonconference matchups of the season became a one-man show. Beginning in the second half, nearly every offensive possession for the Owls involved feeding it to Markeith on the block. Set play? Feed Markeith. Busted play? Feed Markeith. Markeith double covered? Feed Markeith anyway.
For the first thirteen minutes of the second half, this strategy worked rather well as the one man band refused to let the Highlanders roll to victory. With 6:44 remaining in the game, Markeith hit two free throws to give Kennesaw State a single point lead and momentum heading into the home stretch. As Cummings sank these his 30th and 31st points, it seemed inevitable that he'd chalk up at least 40 before the game was over.
Unfortunately for Kennesaw State, Cummings wouldn't score another point. Radford began to close out on Markeith's sizable post presence and the rest of the Owls couldn't keep pace. The Highlanders closed the game on a 19-7 run and that was all she wrote.
Unlike a lot of these bonus coverage games, there was no buzzer beater, the teams were pretty bad, and the final outcome wasn't really in doubt in the waning moments. Sometimes you get to see a game winning overtime touchdown, and sometimes you get to see a fifth quarter of soul-crushing, scoreless football
One of my favorite sports-based anecdotes comes from a Bowling Green football game I attended my freshman year. The weather was bitter cold, and a minimal number of students turned out to watch yet another faceless opponent whip our fledgling team. To reward the kids that had come out, the local Burger King threw Whopper Jr.'s into the student section. Most everyone got one. I unwrapped mine and took a bite.
"This tastes like ass."
I look up to see my friend wolfing down the already half-devoured burger.
"Yeah, but it's my favorite flavor of ass..." he said through a mouthful of liquid smoke and D grade chuck. "Free ass."
Although something you get for nothing (like five more minutes football or a Whopper Jr. you weren't expecting) may not be entirely Earth shattering, always remember--at least it was free.
RADFORD 67, KENNESAW STATE 58
RADFORD 2-2 (0-0) -- J. Aaron 8-14 5-5 23; J. Green 7-15 2-3 16; R. Price 6-10 4-5 19; B. Holcomb 4-5 1-1 9; B. Smith 1-4 2-4 4; K. Noreen 1-2 1-2 4; R. Davis 0-1 2-4 2; Y. Anderson 2-5 2-2 7; J. Carethers 1-4 2-2 4; J. Wells 0-1 0-0 0; K. Brown 0-1 0-0 0; L. Dyer 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 23-50 16-23 67.
KENNESAW STATE 1-3 (0-0) -- M. Cummings 10-20 11-15 31; D. Love 5-14 0-0 11; A. Anderson 1-1 2-2 4; M. Hamilton 1-5 3-4 5; Y. Brown 0-1 0-0 0; N. Pruitt 1-3 0-0 3; A. Osemhen 2-4 0-2 4; B. Dawson 0-0 0-0 0; K. Drees 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-48 16-23 58.
Three-point goals: RAD 5-15 (B. Smith 0-1; J. Green 0-2; R. Price 3-6; K. Noreen 1-2; R. Davis 0-1; J. Wells 0-1; Y. Anderson 1-2), KENN 2-14 (M. Cummings 0-3; D. Love 1-8; N. Pruitt 1-3); Rebounds: RAD 29 (B. Smith 5), KENN 31 (A. Anderson 7); Assists: RAD 12 (R. Price 5), KENN 8 (Y. Brown 3); Total Fouls -- RAD 19, KENN 22; Fouled Out: RAD-None; KENN-M. Hamilton.